How to Use a Massage Ball for Foot Pain

This time of life is all about self-care, or at least for me it is! And when taking care of yourself, there’re no limits for ensuring your health and well-being. Seriously, self-care can come in many forms. Exercising regularly, getting much needed rest and relaxation, or giving your body the TLC it needs are all forms of taking care of yourself. It’s important to remember that with this mantra, there are no limitations on how it’s done.

One form of self-care you probably haven’t considered is using a massage ball. More specifically, using a massage ball for foot pain or to prevent foot pain. Trust me, it’s not something I considered. But a massage ball is one of those great things that once you have it, you don’t know how you lived without it. Almost like Hershey’s chocolate, but in massage form.

Massage balls have become fairly popular throughout the years because they are so easy to use from home. Trust me, I love a good deep tissue massage at the spa. But a massage ball gives me the ability to save money and time, all while still reaping the benefits of loosening those ligaments. The balls work by stimulating tissues that are directly beneath your skin.

Although massage balls are great for helping relieve tense muscles, they pack some other perks you’d probably never think of. While we could go on and on about massage balls and their benefits, let’s narrow it down and get to the nitty gritty of using a massage ball for foot pain.

Benefits of Using a Massage Ball For Foot Pain

Massage Ball for Foot

Have you ever experienced a foot or ankle injury? When I was in high school (many moons ago) I fractured my foot in four different areas — including the arch! Yes, it hurt just as bad as it sounds. I spent months in a boot and even longer than that doing physical therapy. Foot injuries and foot pain are absolutely a force to be reckoned with.

During my time in physical therapy, the massage ball became my new best friend. Seriously, I used one for almost a year. Another crazy thing about a foot injury is that once it happens, it can take forever to heal. So, it’s no surprise that still to this day it amazes me how great a massage ball for foot pain works.

Of course, you don’t need to have an extremely bad injury to use one. Massage balls are perfect for those who suffer from plantar fasciitis or have a persistent dull pain. Using a massage ball for foot pain can provide temporary relief and help stimulate blood flow to the injured area. Basically, you can kiss foot pain goodbye with consistent use of a massage ball.

Trigger Points

One major benefit of using a massage ball for foot pain is that you’ll be able to target those trigger points – also known as hot spots. Not sure what that is? You’ll know once you feel it because it will hurt. Once you find a hot spot, rest the massage ball in that area to help ease some pain.

Improved Circulation

Are you pretty sedentary? Perhaps you’re stuck sitting behind a desk most of the day, so your feet aren’t able to get the exercise they need. If that’s the case for you, a massage ball is calling your name. Rolling a massage ball over each foot for 10 to 20 minutes before heading to bed is a great way to boost circulation. In addition, it will cause you to feel calmer, which means you’ll fall asleep faster and sleep better. And if you are anything like me, you could use some better sleep!

Headache Treatment

Do you suffer from migraines or frequent headaches? Oddly enough, a 2000 study from Denmark discovered that individuals who were suffering from headaches and migraines experienced significant improvements after reflexology treatments. In the study, the participants stopped taking their medication.

After three months, 65% of people had decreased symptoms while others had no symptoms at all. Overall, the research found that 81% of patients reported being cured or experiencing relief as long as six months after the study ended. This may seem minute until you compare the results to that of Imitrex – a common drug used to treat migraines that has a 68% success rate.

Lowers Blood Pressure

Did you know that over 68 million Americans have high blood pressure? This is one in every three adults. Less than half of people with high blood pressure have it under control, and another 20% don’t know that they have it. Typically, high blood pressure is caused by a poor diet and/or stress. But it can also result from genetics and environmental factors.

In 2013, BMC Nursing published an article stating that their healthcare staff who worked with elderly dementia patients found that a 10-minute foot massage session performed around three times a week led to better mood, less anxiety, and helped lower blood pressure. So, if you suffer from high blood pressure, then using a massage ball on your foot could help you.

Depression and Anxiety

Getting a foot massage can be pretty relaxing, that’s for sure. However, frequent foot massages have been found to decrease anxiety in cancer patients. We also know foot massages help to reduce symptoms of depression.

Different Types of Massage Ball For Feet

Now that you know the benefits of massage balls, it’s time to figure out which one to get. Massage balls truly come in every shape, size and color. This can make it quite difficult to determine which is best for you.

Smooth Massage Balls

Massage Ball for Foot

First up is a smooth massage ball. A smooth massage ball is perfect for people who want to get into a muscle, but not too deep. You can opt to purchase a smooth massage ball, a lacrosse ball, or a tennis ball could work.

Spiky Massage Balls

Massage Ball for Foot

Spiky massage balls are what all the hype is about when using a massage ball for foot pain. While it might look a little weird (I swear it looks like a dog toy), it definitely gets the job done and will have you feeling better in no time.

What Conditions can Smooth Massage Balls Treat?

If you’re needing a massage ball for foot pain, then a smooth massage ball can work. It just might not do the trick like a spiky massage ball. Smooth massage balls get deep into the muscles and can help people who want to get right into muscle knots and trigger points through myofascial release. Smooth massage balls are good at working into sore and tight muscles, so if you suffer from those, this could be your ball of choice.

What Conditions can Spiky Massage Balls Treat?

Spiky massage balls are the more popular of the two options in a massage ball for foot pain. Understandably so, since a spiky massage ball treats a variety of aches, pains and issues.

Pain from Plantar Fasciitis

If you’ve ever had any issues with plantar fasciitis, then I feel for you. Plantar fasciitis is a chronic heel pain that is usually the result of deterioration of the connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot. Using a spiky massage ball for a deep foot massage can lessen the symptoms of plantar fasciitis significantly.

Pain from Flat Feet

Besides helping those that suffer from plantar fasciitis, a spiky massage ball can help those who have a condition called flat feet. Those who have flat feet don’t have a normal foot arch because of ligament laxity. Although not everyone with flat feet has pain, those who do can use a spiky massage ball to help ease it.

Edema for Pregnant Women

Edema, also known as swelling in the feet and ankles, is extremely common during pregnancy – especially for women in their third trimester. They’re already toting a baby around, the last thing they need is foot pain to go along with it. Insert: spiky massage balls. Using a spiky massage ball once a day can reduce symptoms of edema when combined with rest and a proper diet.

Which is the Better Massage Ball For Foot Pain?

Massage Ball for Foot

So, which massage ball is the best? Each one has its own benefits and works tremendously when trying to alleviate pain. A smooth massage ball is popular for individuals who want to work deep into a muscle like the shoulder. While you can use a smooth ball for foot pain, using a spiky massage ball for foot pain may prove to be the better option.

How Do Spiky Massage Balls Work?

Spiky massage balls work on the myofascial system to reduce muscle tension, improve blood flow, aid in injury and increase your body awareness. Spiky balls can target trigger points and help reduce the pain in those areas.

Why Are Spiky Massage Balls Better?

So why are spiky massage balls better? Because they can get down into those muscles and areas where you are feeling pain. Since spiky massage balls target trigger points, your body can recover rather than feel tight or sore constantly. Not to mention the slew of benefits that accompany using a spiky massage ball for foot pain.

Guide To Using A Spiky Massage Ball on Your Feet

For starters, it’s always important to listen to your body and what it’s telling you. You should never push yourself farther than you can handle. But keep in mind that there’s a difference between feeling pain and feeling uncomfortable. Chances are if you’re just uncomfortable then you are fine.

When using a spiky massage ball for foot pain, there are a few different ways to do it. One way is by sitting in a chair and rolling each foot over the massage ball in whatever direction you’d like. From this position, you can apply as much or as little pressure needed in order to help with your pain.

Another common way to use a massage ball for foot pain is by standing upright while holding on to something to balance yourself. From there, stand on one leg and ease your foot around on the spiky massage ball for a deep massage. If this is the route you choose, then you may need to opt for a larger spiky ball in order to have better balance and stability.

Despite your go-to choice for using a spiky massage ball, it’s important to perform the massage for at least 30 seconds on each foot. I shoot for at least 5 to 10 minutes and then switch sides to repeat. As stated above, listen to your body. It will let you know how long and how often you should perform the massage.

When Not To Use a Massage Ball For Foot Pain

You should not use a massage ball if you have a recent injury or trauma that has broken the skin, caused inflammation of a joint, or if you are badly bruised. The best person to consult with prior to using a massage ball is your medical provider. They will give you the best suggestions that are ideal for your personal treatment.


Many people live everyday with grueling foot pain.  However, using massage balls for foot pain can work wonders.  The  benefits are being able to target trigger points, improved circulation, headache treatment, lowered blood pressure, decreased depression and anxiety.

But which kind of ball should you use – smooth or the spiked version?  Well, it depends on what you need or are looking for.  The smooth massage balls are good for working deep into muscles to help release trigger points.  However, the spiked version is good for problems such as plantar fasciitis, pain from flat feet, and edema in pregnant women.  Overall, the spiked massage ball seems to be preferred for foot pain.

In using massage balls for foot pain, you need to listen to your body.  You can either sit or stand when using a massage ball on your feet.  Never use a massage ball if you have had a recent injury and be sure to consult your doctor before using one.

Photo of author

Gabrielle McNair

I am obsessed with all things related to fitness and personal health. Outside of that, I enjoy spending time with my husband, being outdoors and traveling.

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